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Social pedagogy in a human rights context: Lessons from primary schools in Iceland

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      Abstract

      The profession of social pedagogues (SPs) in Iceland provides services for a diverse group of people, particularly disabled people of all ages within variety of community settings with inclusive and rights-based practices as their primary professional responsibility. Social pedagogues (SPs) in Iceland have been part of the primary school professional community since the 1974 law on compulsory education opened up the schools for disabled children. This article is based on the school part of an ongoing study which focuses on the role, status and professional developmental needs of SPs in Iceland within their diverse work settings in light of the rights-based demands made by the CRPD. The aim of the school part is to explore, describe and interpret the views and understandings of SPs about the social pedagogue as a contributing actor within inclusive primary schools in Iceland. The data is derived from two main sources; the participants provided texts from a half-open questionnaire and focus group interviews. The analysis is performed with the help of the expansive learning theory within the cultural-historical activity theory framework (CHAT). The findings indicate a large mismatch between policy ideals, the SPs’ professional human-rights based values and the reality SPs face within inclusive schools. Thus, we argue that it is important to acknowledge and utilise the SPs professional expertise embedded in the human rights approach and their innovative practices as part of transformative expansive learning culture and collective change effort in accordance with Article 24 in the CRPD.

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      Expansive Learning at Work: Toward an activity theoretical reconceptualization

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        Cultural-historical activity theory is a new framework aimed at transcending the dichotomies of micro- and macro-, mental and material, observation and intervention in analysis and redesign of work. The approach distinguishes between short-lived goal-directed actions and durable, object-oriented activity systems. A historically evolving collective activity system, seen in its network relations to other activity systems, is taken as the prime unit of analysis against which scripted strings of goal-directed actions and automatic operations are interpreted. Activity systems are driven by communal motives that are often difficult to articulate for individual participants. Activity systems are in constant movement and internally contradictory. Their systemic contradictions, manifested in disturbances and mundane innovations, offer possibilities for expansive developmental transformations. Such transformations proceed through stepwise cycles of expansive learning which begin with actions of questioning the existing standard practice, then proceed to actions of analyzing its contradictions and modelling a vision for its zone of proximal development, then to actions of examining and implementing the new model in practice. New forms of work organization increasingly require negotiated 'knotworking' across boundaries. Correspondingly, expansive learning increasingly involves horizontal widening of collective expertise by means of debating, negotiating and hybridizing different perspectives and conceptualizations. Findings from a longitudinal intervention study of children's medical care illuminate the theoretical arguments.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            University of Iceland; jonaingo@ 123456hi.is
            Author notes
            [* ]Correspondence: vjoh@ 123456hi.is
            Journal
            IJSP
            International Journal of Social Pedagogy
            Int. J. Soc. Pedagog.
            UCL Press
            2051-5804
            28 September 2018
            : 7
            : 1
            10.14324/111.444.ijsp.2018.v7.1.003
            IJSP-7-3
            © 2018, Vilborg Jóhannsdóttir and Jóna G. Ingólfsdóttir.

            This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited • DOI: https://doi.org/10.14324/111.444.ijsp.2018.v7.1.003.

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            Pages: 15
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            Ingólfsdóttir, V., & Ingólfsdóttir, J. G. (2018). Social pedagogy in a human rights context: Lessons from primary schools in Iceland. International Journal of Social Pedagogy, 7( 1): 3. DOI: https://doi.org/10.14324/111.444.ijsp.2018.v7.1.003.
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